Jennifer Egan loves music just as much as her protagonists in A Visit from the Goon Squad. Westword, Denver’s alt-weekly, asked Egan what her five favorite songs are. The playlist includes everyone from Iggy Pop to Cat Power. We think Bennie Salazar would approve.
“I was also deeply protective of my father, who at the time of my reading was struggling with illness and other demons. Yet I saw painfully how he could also be a figure of fun. It dawned on me that Cal, supposedly a great friend, might be mocking him—even just by writing about his mockery by others. I registered the first stirrings of an uncertain dislike.” Diantha Parker considers her father’s long friendship with Robert Lowell, immortalized in Lowell’s poem “To Frank Parker.”
In anticipation of Adam Sternbergh’s novel, Shovel Ready, Chris Bilton and Sarah Liss collaborated on “the ultimate N.Y.C. dystopia map,” which serves as an amalgamation of “some of the darkest visions of the city.” Meanwhile, Jacob Silverman points us to a map of St. Petersburg, Russia, “made out of lines from Russian literature.” (Bonus: Sternbergh discusses his novel with the Los Angeles Times.)
The international popularity and utility of English doesn’t show any signs of slowing, but what will the language look like after a few generations of increasing usage? The Economist gives a brief answer, but it doesn’t address the ways English is or will be used by different people to tell their stories. Damian Fowler addresses this when he asks, “[W]hat does it mean to have an American point of view,” or to call a book American in tone, as opposed to British or just English-language? In a blog post for The Paris Review, Fowler offers an answer: American novels are characterized by “a spare, sure sense of narrative, reflected in a colloquial voice, free of affectation.”
A collection of striking photos of numerous well-known contemporary writers, in two galleries. Somehow these pictures exude the literary.Blogger lonelysandwich makes the only half toungue-in-cheek observation that the original cover of tennis fan David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest shares a color scheme with those Andre Agassi Nikes that were all the rage in the early ’90s.George Saunders appeared on Letterman last week, as you may have heard. onegoodmove put the clip online.
Newsweek Senior Writer (and Millions contributor) Alexander Nazaryan has a new interview with William T. Vollmann up on Newsweek’s website. To start things off right, he reports that if Vollman were to win the Nobel Prize, he’d enjoy giving a decent chunk of the prize money to prostitutes.